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Free Will

Edited by Neil Levy (Oxford University)
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Summary Most philosophers and laypeople believe that under most conditions human beings, perhaps along with some other animals, possess a power of selecting and implementing actions which is special. This power is very widely held to be a necessary condition of responsibility for actions, for autonomy and for being entitled to take pride in (or to feel shame for) one's achievements. The free will debate in philosophy aims at elucidating the nature of that power as well as at identifying potential threats to it and explaining how it can exist. A major focus of the debate is the compatibility of free will with causal determinism. A minority of philosophers deny that we have free will because free will is incompatible with causal determinism.
Key works The free will debate is ancient in Western philosophy, but was first developed systematically by scholastic thinkers concerning about the relationship free will and God's foreknowledge (eg Ockham 1983). The rise of mechanistic science brought determinism to the forefront and played an important role in the development of compatibilism by philosophers like Hume (Hume 1777). The advent of Frankfurt-style cases (Frankfurt 1969) transformed the late 20th century debate, by allowing compatibilists to dispense with the principle of alternate possibilities (see McKenna & Widerker 2003 for important contributions to this debate). At the same time, important new libertarian views have been developed by thinkers like Robert Kane (Kane 1996) and Timothy O'Connor (O'Connor 2000). Very recently, there has been a revival of free will skepticism (Strawson 1994; Levy 2011).
Introductions O'Connor 2005;McKenna 2008; Clarke & Capes ms
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Subcategories:See also:History/traditions: Free Will
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  1. Marcus P. Adams (2014). Dual Agency and Role Morality. American Journal of Bioethics 14 (9):44-45.
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  2. Robert Francis Allen (2010). Free Will and Indeterminism. Journal of Philosophical Research 30:341-355.
    Drawing on Aristotle’s notion of “ultimate responsibility,” Robert Kane argues that to be exercising a free will an agent must have taken some character forming decisions for which there were no sufficient conditions or decisive reasons. That is, an agent whose will is free not only had the ability to develop values and beliefs besides those that presently make up her motives, but could have exercised that ability without being irrational. An agent wills freely, on this view, by beingultimately responsible (...)
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  3. G. E. M. Anscombe (1984). Were You a Zygote? Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures 18:111-115.
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  4. G. E. M. Anscombe (1982). The Role and Responsibility of the Moral Philosopher. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 56:12-25.
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  5. Anselm (1977). St. Anselm's Treatise on Free Will: The Booke of Seynt Anselme Which Treatith of Free Wylle Translated in to Englysche: A Facsimile of the Complete Text of a Recently Discovered 15th C. Manuscript. Toucan Press.
  6. Topolski Anya (forthcoming). The Moral Responsibility of Peacekeeping. Philosophica.
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  7. Arthur Isak Applbaum (2007). Forcing a People to Be Free. Philosophy and Public Affairs 35 (4):359–400.
  8. Nomy Arpaly (forthcoming). Consciousness and Moral Responsibility, by Neil Levy. Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-3.
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  9. Miroslav Artić (2009). Towards a New Experience of Free Time: Free Time as the Origin of Critical Consciousness. Filozofska Istrazivanja 29 (2):281-295.
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  10. Robert Audi (2011). The Ethics of Belief and the Morality of Action: Intellectual Responsibility and Rational Disagreement. Philosophy 86 (1):5-29.
    The contemporary explosion of information makes intellectual responsibility more needed than ever. The uncritical tend to believe too much that is unsubstantiated; the overcritical tend to believe too little that is true. A central problem for this paper is to formulate standards to guide an intellectually rigorous search for a mean between excessive credulity and indiscriminate skepticism. A related problem is to distinguish intellectual responsibility for what we believe from moral responsibility for what we do. A third problem is how (...)
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  11. L. K. B. (1957). The Freedom to Read. Review of Metaphysics 11 (2):349-350.
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  12. M. H. Badii, A. Guillen & Abreu Jl (2012). Estimación Estadística de Control de Calidad (Statistical Assessment of Quality Control). Daena 7 (2):91-113.
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  13. Mark Balaguer (2014). Free Will. Mit.
    A philosopher considers whether the scientific and philosophical arguments against free will are reason enough to give up our belief in it.
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  14. Andreas Baudisch & Anand Pillay (2000). A Free Pseudospace. Journal of Symbolic Logic 65 (1):443-460.
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  15. R. F. Baumeister, M. T. Gailliot & D. M. Tice (2009). Free Willpower: A Limited Resource Theory of Volition, Choice, and Self-Regulation. In Ezequiel Morsella, John A. Bargh & Peter M. Gollwitzer (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Human Action. Oxford University Press. 487--508.
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  16. Elizabeth Lane Beardsley (1960). Determinism and Moral Perspectives. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 21 (1):1-20.
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  17. Ermanno Bencivenga (1990). Free From What? Erkenntnis 33 (1):9 - 21.
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  18. Jonathan Bennett (1963). The Status of Determinism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 14 (54):106-119.
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  19. Réjane Bernier (1968). Indeterminism in Nature. Par G. E. Fitzgibbon S.V.D., Pontifica Universitas Gregoriana, Boston, 1963. Vii-52 P. $3.00. Dialogue 6 (04):640-.
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  20. C’Zar Bernstein & Nathaniel Helms (forthcoming). A Simpler Free Will Defence. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion:1-7.
    Otte :165–177, 2009) and Pruss :400–415, 2012) have produced counterexamples to Plantinga’s famous free will defence against the logical version of the problem of evil. The target of this criticism is the possibility of universal transworld depravity, which is crucial to Plantinga’s defence. In this paper, we argue that there is a simpler and more plausible free will defence that does not require the possibility of universal transworld depravity or the truth of counterfactuals of creaturely freedom. We assume only that (...)
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  21. Bernard Berofsky (1989). Belief and Responsibility. In Peter Slezak (ed.), Computers, Brains and Minds. Kluwer. 95--122.
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  22. Bernard Berofsky, I. Wilks & Erindale College (1995). Phl 341f Free Will and Determinism. Custom Publishing Service, University of Toronto Bookstores.
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  23. Fred Berthold (1981). Free Will and Theodicy in Augustine: An Exposition and Critique. Religious Studies 17 (4):525.
    Not only for Augustine, but for virtually all Christian theologians, the doctrine of free will is of critical importance for theodicy. The reason for this is easy to state: these theologians trace either all or much evil to human sin, which in turn is understood as an abuse of the free will with which human beings were endowed by their Creator. Augustine sums it very well: ‘… all that we call evil is either sin or punishment for sin’. The argument (...)
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  24. Olaf Beyersdorff (2009). Comparing Axiomatizations of Free Pseudospaces. Archive for Mathematical Logic 48 (7):625-641.
    Independently and pursuing different aims, Hrushovski and Srour (On stable non-equational theories. Unpublished manuscript, 1989) and Baudisch and Pillay (J Symb Log 65(1):443–460, 2000) have introduced two free pseudospaces that generalize the well know concept of Lachlan’s free pseudoplane. In this paper we investigate the relationship between these free pseudospaces, proving in particular, that the pseudospace of Baudisch and Pillay is a reduct of the pseudospace of Hrushovski and Srour.
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  25. Hans-Werner Bierhoff & Ann Elisabeth Auhagen (2001). Responsibility as a Fundamental Human Phenomenon. In Ann Elisabeth Auhagen & Hans Werner Bierhoff (eds.), Responsibility: The Many Faces of a Social Phenomenon. Routledge.
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  26. Lynda Birke (2008). Talking About Horses: Control and Freedom in the World of "Natural Horsemanship". Society and Animals 16 (2):107-126.
    This paper explores how horses are represented in the discourses of "natural horsemanship" , an approach to training and handling horses that advocates see as better than traditional methods. In speaking about their horses, NH enthusiasts move between two registers: On one hand, they use a quasi-scientific narrative, relying on terms and ideas drawn from ethology, to explain the instinctive behavior of horses. Within this mode of narrative, the horse is "other" and must be understood through the human learning to (...)
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  27. Robert C. Bishop (2005). Anvil or Onion? Determinism as a Layered Concept. Erkenntnis 63 (1):55 - 71.
    Kellert (In the Wake of Chars, University of Chicago press, Chicago, 1993) has argued that Laplacean determinism in classical physics is actually a layered concept, where various properties or layers composing this form of determinism can be peeled away. Here, I argue that a layered conception of determinism is inappropriate and that we should think in terms of different deterministic models applicable to different kinds of systems. The upshot of this analysis is that the notion of state is more closely (...)
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  28. Robert C. Bishop (2005). Anvil or Onion? Determinism as a Layered Concept. Erkenntnis 63 (1):55 - 71.
    Kellert ("In the Wake of Chars", University of Chicago press, Chicago, 1993) has argued that Laplacean determinism in classical physics is actually a layered concept, where various properties or layers composing this form of determinism can be peeled away. Here, I argue that a layered conception of determinism is inappropriate and that we should think in terms of different deterministic models applicable to different kinds of systems. The upshot of this analysis is that the notion of state is more closely (...)
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  29. Robert C. Bishop (2003). On Separating Predictability and Determinism. Erkenntnis 58 (2):169--88.
    There has been a long-standing debate about the relationshipof predictability and determinism. Some have maintained that determinism impliespredictability while others have maintained that predictability implies determinism. Manyhave maintained that there are no implication relations between determinism andpredictability. This summary is, of course, somewhat oversimplified and quick at least in thesense that there are various notions of determinism and predictability at work in thephilosophical literature. In this essay I will focus on what I take to be the Laplacean visionfor determinism and (...)
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  30. Susanne Bobzien (1993). Determinism and Free Will in Stoic Philosophy.
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  31. J. M. Bocheński (1986). The Concept of the Free Society. The Monist 69 (2):207-215.
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  32. Svante Bohman (1977). Analyses of Consciousness as Well as Observation, Volition and Valuation. Almqvist & Wiksell International (Distr.).
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  33. John Boler (1982). The Role and Responsibility of the Moral Philosopher. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 56:50-60.
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  34. John Bourke (1938). Responsibility, Freedom and Determinism. Philosophy 13 (51):276 - 287.
    There may in general be said to be two ways in which progress may be made in the understanding and towards the solution of a problem. The one is that of the continual development of it in the form originally given to it, by confirming this and rejecting that point in the light of fresh evidence, by clarification of concepts, and by detecting and resolving ambiguities and inconsistencies. Here it is assumed that the standpoint from which the problem has been (...)
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  35. Vernon J. Bourke (1982). The Role and Responsibility of the Moral Philosopher. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 56:125-132.
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  36. K. E. Boxer (2013). Rethinking Responsibility. Oup Oxford.
    K. E. Boxer explores moral responsibility, and whether it is compatible with causal determinism. She suggests that to answer this question we must focus on responsibility in the sense of liability, and that an incompatibilist view may only be preserved on an understanding of the moral desert of punishment that many find morally problematic.
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  37. R. D. Bradley (1962). 'Ifs', 'Cans' and Determinism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 40 (2):146 – 158.
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  38. Matthew Braham & Martin van Hees (2012). An Anatomy of Moral Responsibility. Mind 121 (483):601 - 634.
    This paper examines the structure of moral responsibility for outcomes. A central feature of the analysis is a condition that we term the 'avoidance potential', which gives precision to the idea that moral responsibility implies a reasonable demand that an agent should have acted otherwise. We show how our theory can allocate moral responsibility to individuals in complex collective action problems, an issue that sometimes goes by the name of 'the problem of many hands'. We also show how it allocates (...)
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  39. William H. Brenner (2001). Natural Law, Motives, and Freedom of the Will. Philosophical Investigations 24 (3):246–261.
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  40. James Brown (1973). Essays on Freedom of Action. Philosophical Studies 22:297-299.
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  41. Pamela J. Brown (1987). Free Thought and Free Trade: The Analogy Between Scientific and Entrepreneurial Discovery Process. Journal of Libertarian Studies 8 (2):289-92.
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  42. Douglas Browning (1964). The Feeling of Freedom. Review of Metaphysics 18 (1):123 - 146.
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  43. Douglas Browning (1963). Free Acts and Free Men. Southern Journal of Philosophy 1 (2):15-20.
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  44. John Patrick Burke (1982). The Role and Responsibility of the Moral Philosopher. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 56:194-206.
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  45. Charles Theodore Burnett (1908). A Fundamental Test for Determinism. International Journal of Ethics 18 (2):220-225.
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  46. E. S. C. (1962). An Inquiry Into the Freedom of Decision. Review of Metaphysics 16 (1):167-167.
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  47. E. S. C. (1962). Free Action. Review of Metaphysics 16 (1):166-167.
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  48. L. C. (1966). Freedom, Determinism, Indeterminism. Review of Metaphysics 20 (2):379-379.
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  49. L. C. (1966). Human Freedom and the Self. Review of Metaphysics 19 (3):583-583.
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  50. Steven M. Cahn (2009). Freedom or Determinism? In , Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press.
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